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(New Zealand) Huge delays for preschoolers with disabilities

Sept 3, 2018, Radio New Zealand: 'Jaw-dropping' delays for special education https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018660918/jaw-dropping-delays-for-special-education Delays in specialist support for children with disabilities under five in the Wellington region are "ridiculous", parents and teachers say. They said pre-schoolers with special needs were waiting six or eight months for help, and many were nearly ready for school by the time they received the assistance they needed. Ministry of Education figures showed the average waiting time for early intervention support in Wellington in 2017-18 was 196 days, more than double the national average of 99 days and up from 131 days in 2016-17. Yahna Gray said her three-year-old son, Kayden, needed specialist help for delayed social and verbal skills, but she had been told he would not get any assistance for about eight months. Ms Scahill said she told parents they would have to wait six or eight months for help, but sometimes it was even longer. A referral for a child submitted eighteen months ago was only now receiving services - just six months before she was to start school, she said. Ministry of Education national director of learning support David Wales said a combination of factors caused Wellington's long waiting times. Mr Wales said waiting times in all regions would fall because the government's Budget in May included $21.5 million over the next four years specifically for the early intervention service.